Love’s First Look

Love's First Look (Dec 2010), £7.00.

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‘Through biblical text, religious dreams and the sacredness of the mundane Sarah Fordham explores the ritual, reality and reverie of her faith. Charting the peaks and troughs of the burden of belief she paints a very real picture of what it is like to view a suffering and very tangible world through the eyes of a God of love’ Tamsin Kendrick, poet

‘When you read this collection of Sarah Fordham’s poems, you will come to these lines: “This is the time for poetry . . . Poetry will find the unattended part of you / And blow the dust away”. You will feel and know, gratefully, that Sarah is right' Brian McLaren, author/speaker/activist (

‘The intelligence of the heart is often submerged in a “knowledge economy”. The intelligence of soulfulness in relationship with the Holy Spirit is even more rarely shared, but we find them both here. Sarah has “boldy gone” where few modern poets dare – to seek out the sources and even the techniques of a poetics of contemplation. Motivated by great masters such as John Paul II, who proclaimed in his Letter to Artists that a poet could awaken the energies required to take on the challenges of the age, she has given us poems and cadences that awaken our own soulfulness and give us a new experience of the source of our true hope. And so, as we read: "Our hands open / Ready to clasp the cup as it passes by us". Beautiful work; it will inspire your own’ Sarah de Nordwall, poet, performer and founder of The Bard School


Sarah Fordham’s new poetry collection, Love’s First Look, should be read by anyone interested in serious poetry.

Sarah’s collection is a confessional that is fragrant, poignant, tender and beautifully written. She has a real feeling for language and structure. In fact, language and words are central preoccupations of the book, and along the way she launches wonderful attacks on much modern rubbish masquerading as poetry – check out ‘symbolic competency has left the building’.

But she is at her real best in the short and structured lyric – poems such as ‘Evensong’, ‘Lifecycle’, ‘This Year’ and ‘It comes’ are wonderful examples of her own precepts on using rhythm and rhyme. It is worth saying too how ambitious she is: she takes a line from one of our greatest twentieth-century poets, Wilfred Owen, and gives him a run for his money.

Sarah is angry with the meaning-destroyers: the people who fail to use language effectively on the one hand, and slip into various forms of nihilism on the other. Her antidote to all this is her strong spiritual beliefs and her compelling poems that invoke heaven, hell and all the earth between.

I strongly recommend this collection. It is an important collection that actually says something – something more important than what most modern poetry is saying, which is ‘notice me, aren’t I being clever?’

James Sale FRSA, Creative Director, Motivational Maps Ltd